Is Grandma eating right ?
Selma is 86 years old. She lives alone with some help for her housekeeping and garden. But she cooks for herself and is independent when it comes to her diet. So is she eating right ? “Off course she is !” would answer her daughter Claire.
Is Grandma eating right ?
The question is very complex. In some cases, supervision becomes a key element to make sure one’s diet remain complete and balanced. Immediate family or the persons in charge need to look at a number of parameters and analyze several factors such as the calories intake, the amount of fruits, vegetables and proper nutrients ingested. The quality of the food matters very much to sustain an elderly good health. If Grandma mostly relies on toasts, tea and biscuits, her diet is probably to be revised completely and fast.
If the person leaves alone, to thoroughly evaluate the habits of an elderly is tricky because what they claim is not really what they do. Often conscious of their improper diet, elderly people tend to minimize or hide the fact they are not eating right. Sometimes they eat the same things over and over again, depriving themselves of precious nutrient, fibers and vitamins. Sometimes they just do not eat at all and skip meals as they are depressed. It is not easy to find appetite when you are alone in front of your plate. It is even more complicated to go out to the grocery store when you are weak or feel not that well. Sometimes elderly people have all sort of good reasons whose consequences may have a catastrophic impact on their diets. This is the reason why some supervision should be implemented by relatives or whomever is responsible to verify the elderly person is eating right.
Once this analysis is done, one should solve the most pressing issues and implement a proper meal strategy that will not only protect the person’s health but make him/her feel much more comfortable in her life, alert and prevent deterioration.
Have a look at the recommended calorie intake, which depends on the activity level the age and the sex of the person. It ranges from 1600 to 2000 calories for a woman and between 2000 to 2400 for a man. More info and numbers on http://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/knowhowmuchtoeat/01.html
Ensure that plenty of fresh food, veggies and fruits, full of precious nutrients and vitamins are daily taken by the elderly person respecting his/her dietary requirements. Make them sure they are available as snacks if the elderly person eats less. It is much easy to pass by a plate of grapes and banana sitting on the dining room table and grab just one for the fun while passing by.
Try to have someone show up at lunch or dinner time, to keep an eye, motivate or supervise that the person is eating right. This will also help the person to feel less lonely at targeted times for better results.
If despite your efforts, results are not there or if the situation requires more attention, we suggest you contact your doctor. Maybe he/sher will recommend to add some supplements to the elderly person’s diet.